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China Will Pursue Its Dual Track on the South China Sea

July 24, 2016 (EIRNS)—This was the message Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made in a meeting with Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial meeting. The dual track involves negotiations, on the one hand, and cooperative projects, on the other.

This proposal was first put forward by Brunei in the context of dealing with the South China Sea disputes. Wang Yi is in Vientiane for the meeting of ASEAN and the East Asian Forum, which will also include Japan, South Korea and the United States. As the ASEAN meeting began, Chinese vice minister Liu Weimin made a few pointed comments regarding the South China Sea, giving the delegates something to “ponder on.”

“Over the past 60 years, the Chinese government has always adhered to solving disputes through negotiations and consultations in order to maintain good relations with neighboring countries and, more importantly, to safeguard peace and stability of Asia,”

Liu said.

“Asia is now a major driver of economic growth in the world. If Asia’s peace and stability is at stake, and if Asia is unable to sustain its growth momentum, what will happen to the world? This is a question Asian countries should ponder on, and so should other countries."

While the South China Sea dispute has not been at the center of the public discussion in the ASEAN meeting, it may well come up as the other protagonists enter the arena, with both Japan and the United States having an axe to grind.

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